Being the latest devices to hit the market, the Linksys Velop and the Netgear Orbi target a certain market – for those who own larger homes, where a simple router just won’t cut it, leaving dead spots scattered all over. But Linksys Velop and Netgear Orbi tackle this problem head on in a very specific approach, which will make you consider them while buying a router for your home.
While earlier many people would have simply opted for wireless extenders to extend the range in their home, doing so effectively slowed down the internet speed, while being a pain trying to set them all up.
Taking wireless mesh systems to a whole new different level, this battle between Velop vs. Orbi had the BlueGadgetTooth team doing an in depth review to see which one would be best for your home wifi system. To begin with, Linksys Velop approached the wireless mesh system in a totally different way, by adding another 5GHz band to balance the load on the network better, while addressing backhaul.
On the other hand, Netgear Orbi revolutionizes the previous combination of router + extender, rending it obsolete by its introduction of an additional radio specifically created to address backhaul, making the need for a standard off the market wireless extender quite pointless.
Apart from being the latest wireless mesh systems introduced to the market, the Velop vs. Orbi actually have a lot of common features, but let’s take a look at their differences and similarities to know which Wifi system is the best between the Velop vs. Orbi.
It goes without saying; their design approach and final form have a lot in common. The white body, encased in matte finish to avoid fingerprints showing up is the first step to a successful design. The white plastic bodies are lightweight, and their final forms don’t take up much footprint at all – so they are great for placing them anywhere – however, as they are quite light, even though they may stand a little taller than other routers, they may get damaged if placed in a heavily trafficked area. So avoid keeping them near table edges.
To work effectively, a router must be well ventilated to avoid overheating, and both Velop vs. Orbi have followed that point through. While the ventilation points on the Velop are placed everywhere, both on the top of the router as well as both lateral sides, the Orbi has the ventilation holes near the ports as well as grills placed at the bottom. After testing, it was found that both designs had an effective heat displacement system.
This may seem like a very insignificant detail, but having LED indicators that inform you of your device’s status will help you know in one glance on the problem at hand. From having the blue LED get activated will tell you that all is well while the purple colour will inform you that the node is paired up, after which you can start the set up process. Red is bad news; a flashing red will tell you that your router’s connection to the main node has been lost and a solid red means that you have no internet connection – a yellow signifies that a node has been placed too far. These simple signifiers tell you what is wrong so that you can rectify the problem without having to test out various parameters to find out the problem.
Both the Velop vs. Orbi understand the importance of Gigabit Ethernet ports and there are ample ports given with both models.
Both systems share MU-MIMO technology, which plays the role of serving many clients simultaneously, instead of having them compete for bandwidth individually.
This allows the signal to be beamed in a focused manner towards the connected client instead of broadcasting it in a large area, reducing the effectiveness.
The Linksys Velop is essentially the same design, same form, whether you choose to buy it as a one unit, two units or three unit system. This is a real wireless mesh system and the role of each device is to act as a router, or as a node. This means that when you buy the units, each node communicates with each other to give you the best performance, while the Netgear Orbi has a router, and Orbi satellites. These satellites can only communicate with the main router and the client, not with each other.
1. Netgear Orbi
2. Linksys Velop
There was quite a bit of hype surrounding the Netgear Orbi, and although they are known to design and create well functioning routers, we wondered if the Orbi would hold its own against the other contenders in the mesh system.
To begin with, the Orbi doesn’t really work in a mesh system – instead it replaces the need of buying a separate wireless extender as it comes with the main router and satellites. As the word suggests, the router acts as the central mother ship, so it should be placed in the center of your home. But what sets the Orbi apart, is that you need fewer satellites to achieve what owning many extenders could do.
In terms of performance, the Netgear Orbi gave us 212Mbps at close range, with the signal slowly getting weaker to 75Mbps at a range of 80 feet. Each satellite can essentially cover a large area and the signal degradation is much better while using the Orbi as compared to other mesh systems. It does turn out to be way cheaper some of its competitors, but this is not the only factor that should help you decide.
The tri-band technology helps to maintain data flow so that no matter how many devices are connected to the network, you won’t face loss of speed due to the dedicated backhaul connection. This is their one feature that we feel makes a huge difference to their performance.
It was relatively easy to set up, and you can use the Orbi App to get it up and running, no matter if you’re on your phone, desktop, or laptop. You need privacy and security for your private home network, and the guest control features makes this perfect for friends and guests who come a visiting. And best of all, its compatible with Amazon Alexa so you can really feel like you’re on Star Trek and can issue voice commands to get things done on your home network.
With this ingenious design, Linksys has brought out another winner. Buyers have the option of buying juts one unit or multiple units, depending on the size of the area they want covered. As each node is designed exactly the same, you don’t have to worry about locations and placement due to the mesh network technology – which you normally have to do with other routers or wifi systems.
You can place each node where it is needed most and go on from there, as each node will communicate directly with each other to offer the best performance and connectivity.
The Linksys Velop did deliver an excellent range, with speeds reaching 165Mbps at close range, with the signal degrading as we went further away from the nodes. We see that the Linksys Velop doe slack the raw power the Netgear Orbi has, as well as the superb wireless performance. Even though Velop has been advertised to have awesome speeds and range, we find that this is not the case. Perhaps it will be worked on in the future – continuous updates keep coming up, making the Linksys Velop something to watch out for.
When it was just released we noted many features missing, but that has all been corrected in the latest update.
Both the Velop vs. Orbi have many points in their favour, and we certainly appreciate the thought that went into the minimalistic and attractive design, as well as the many features that both models come packaged with. They definitely have both changed the way we look at mesh systems, but when compared to each other, it becomes quite clear the strengths and weaknesses of each.
The Velop creates a real mesh system and the three units can cover a larger ground the only 2 Orbi satellites may otherwise miss. However, the Netgear Orbi won on all testing fields and criteria, and in terms of wireless performance, multiple Ethernet port and more – the Orbi wins.
If you do have any dead spots – you can always get another satellite- that may bump up the price however, so in the end, you do have to see what suits you – in terms of budget, area coverage and wireless performance; the Velop vs. the Orbi – which one won for you?